7 Kinds Of Apps All Parents Need
By Erik Missio
Photo by halfpoint / 123RF Stock Photo
Mar 30, 2016
Parents successfully raised families and balanced their home and work lives for hundred of years before the first iPhone. But that doesn’t mean smartphones and tablets aren’t useful tools.
With a few key apps, a phone can turn into a powerful little device that makes it easier for parents to plan, remember, save money and de-stress.
Here are seven kinds of apps to help you get through the day:
1. The Syncronized Scheduling App
It can be tough to coordinate parents’ work schedules with kids’ swim meets, soccer practices, after-school dental checkups and playdates. And things can get even more complicated when different caregivers or grandparents handle pickups and drop-offs.
Calendar and scheduling apps (including many free ones, like Google Calendar) can be synchronized across multiple users—and different kinds of devices—so everyone is working with the same calendar. This makes it easier to spot conflicts in advance and schedule time together as a family.
Family-specific apps like Cozi offer more even more scheduling options, like the ability to display which family members are attending each event and assign tasks to different people.
2. The Information Storage App
Keep important information at your fingertips with an app that stores notes, photos, lists and links and syncs everything across devices. Add something to a list on your computer and it shows up on your phone. Presto!
An app like Evernote and Google Keep can store all the information you might need over the course of a day: your children’s current shoe sizes, appointment reminders, class access codes, receipts and warranties, recipes and more. Use your phone’s camera to capture important pieces of paper so you can search for them later.
If you like making lists, try a dedicated to-do list app like Out of Milk or Wunderlist. Both apps let you share lists with others—handy for updating and checking off grocery lists and managing household bills.
3. The Out for the Day App
There are dozens of weather apps out there—all can help you plan how to dress your kids (and yourself) for outdoor adventures. Many weather apps will even send you a notification with the daily forecast every morning at a specified time (check the app’s settings to set it up).
When you leave the house, a map and GPS app can be invaluable. Locations and directions are one thing, but the “search nearby” feature is my favourite. It's perfect for all the times you’re on the road and need to find a family-friendly restaurant or a bathroom, stat.
4. The Image Organizing App
How many photos do you take in a day? And what do you do with all of them?
If you’re like many parents, you probably keep those photos on your phone and rarely display them—let alone organize them. Programs like Google Photos and Picjoy let you easily organize, categorize and search your photos.
And if you want a separate, special place to store pictures of your kids’ artwork when the fridge runs out of room, apps like ArtKive and Canvsly help collect and categorize mini-masterpieces. You can browse through pictures in a virtual gallery, organized by school year or child.
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5. The Money-Saving App
Apps can help you save money by making you a smarter shopper.
Flipp pulls together local flyers and coupons. It also matches coupons with sale items (so you can save money twice!). If your local grocery store offers price matching, you can use Flipp to find the lowest price for an item in your area, then show the flyer to your cashier on your phone.
Checkout 51 rewards you for grocery shopping by giving you credit for certain products after you upload photos of your receipts.
There are also money-saving apps for specific types of purchases. Try Gas Buddy, which hounds out the lowest price at the pumps.
6. The Keeping Track of Chores App
Some parents may roll their eyes, but gamifying chores can be a fun way to teach kids about responsibility (and just get them to finally clean their rooms).
7. The Just-Getting-Through-The-Day App
This one is just for you: apps that give you a chance to relax, reconnect or reward yourself with a little distraction from the real world.
It might be listening to podcasts or streaming video with headphones during a late-night feeding session, or it might be 10 minutes of Tetris after your preschooler has finally drifted to sleep but before the dishes get done.
In other cases, it’s Facebook or Twitter to talk (or vent) with friends or family. Whatever it is, there are some days when a few minutes “wasted” online can be a wonderful thing.
8. Bonus: The Imaginary App
Imagine an app could motivate your kids to do chores or find that missing mitten (for the fifteenth time...). What a dream!
Do you use any of these types of apps? Are there other apps you’d recommend to other parents?